Normal People's Daisy Edgar-Jones has said becoming an overnight star felt like "a strange dream" as the world was already "topsy turvy" due to lockdown.
The Rose D’Or winning actress, 22, and her co-star Paul Mescal, 24, both shot to fame in April this year following the debut of the coming-of-age drama.
Edgar-Jones was initially only able to enjoy her newfound success online due to the pandemic and didn't reunite publicly with Mescal until the Bafta TV Awards in July.
Speaking to The Big Issue Edgar-Jones said: "To be honest, it was something that was very difficult to actually register at the time, the whole experience felt like a strange dream as the world was already topsy turvy and the show coming out just added to the strangeness."
Edgar-Jones said 2020 "definitely won't be a year I will be forgetting any time soon".
She continued: "I have had some time to make sense of the impact within the last few months.
"The initial release of the show felt like a surreal video game I was playing as my only interaction with it was through my phone.
"But during the summer when lockdown lightened and I was able to see more of my friends and leave the house, I definitely realised how many people the show had actually reached and what that meant for me and my career.
"The show has definitely opened doors for me, which I feel very lucky about."
Normal People, which was adapted from a Sally Rooney novel of the same name, focuses on the on-off relationship between Irish teenagers Marianne and Connell, beginning in their school days through to their time at university.
The TV adaption was co-written by Rooney and Alice Birch and was directed by Lenny Abrahamson, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2015 for Room, and Hettie Macdonald, who directed the mini-series Howards End.
Edgar-Jones said the show had "touched" fans in a way she had not expected.
She said: "It’s true to say that the impact of Normal People took us by surprise. We knew it was a great story with a brilliant team making it, and of course, the book was a huge hit already, but there was something extra that seemed to happen through being in lockdown when the show was released.
"I think it was a heightened experience for many people – whether that was about being connected when we had to be apart or about nostalgia for first love, it felt like it touched people on a deep emotional level."